Brian Lewis tweeted something very interesting today about Dax McCarty.
You may be asking why I used the term interesting. If you remember, a while ago, we found out that Dax had been playing with with an injured back for a few years now. Now, he's going under the knife for his knee. I can't imagine that the two injuries are related, but the surgery does explain some things. It was reported that Dax was under some new treatment this year for his back, which was supposed to have him feeling better. However, we never really saw him bounce back from his early season woes. The knee injury might explain why that is.
The New York Red Bulls actually get a little lucky with the timing. They have only two matches, 1 league, 1 Cup, before their World Cup break, and Dax might've sat for the USOC match anyway. This will give Dax time to heal without missing a lot of action (assuming things go smoothly). In the meantime though, who'll take his spot on the field? Let's take a look at a few options for Mike Petke.
Option 1: Eric Alexander
Assuming that Peguy Luyindula is healthy, Alexander is a natural option to fill in the central midfield, as he has played in that position on multiple occasions this year. However, I don't feel comfortable with his there as he's shown he's a better asset for this team when deployed on the wing.
Option 2: Ruben Bover
Bover's natural position is on the wing, and was used on the left against Sporting Kansas City last week, and didn't do well. It's not right to bury a player after one game, but given the Red Bulls form (1 point in last 4 games), this isn't the time for a player who hasn't played well to be thrust into the middle.
Option 3: Jonny Steele
No one would ever really consider this as Steele's position is on the wing, but if Alexander plays out wide, Steele might be a good inside option.
Option 4: Eric Stevenson/Marius Obekop/Michael Bustamante/Ian Christianson
I'm lumping these four guys together for two reasons. First, I honestly don't know much about these guys. Second, they are all young guys who Petke hasn't put on the field yet. Maybe it's time for a youth movement, and for it to start in the midfield. I mean, it's not like the Red Bulls can really get much worse.